Scouting Cypress Creek
Sept. 7, 2015
by Natalie Wiest
Tom Douglas was scouting Cypress Creek for an upcoming regatta, and it didn’t take much urging for Dave Kitson and me to join him for the trip.
It was my first time using a very new ramp at Mercer Arboretum as an access point. This is one of those places where you must call several days in advance to get permission and have the gate unlocked to get to the water. You can drive quite close, but then have to carry down concrete steps to the water, and move your car to another spot. Here is what the new access point looks like:
At this water level (about 60 CFS on the Westfield gage, (USGS 08069000 Cypress Ck nr Westfield, TX) the water was at the same level as the ramp.
It didn’t take long for us to note the damage done to the creek, including many upended trees in the water, during flooding earlier this summer. These are definitely hazards to navigation. This one in particular was attacked by chainsaws later that week so should be gone by now.
This is the view from downstream, looking upstream. Many other places we saw eroded banks or more trees and shrubs in the water.
Tom and his trusty saw, Sven:
And Dave with his wicked machete, both took a toll on overhanging branches and snags:
Still, the creek is a beautiful place fringed by tall hardwood trees, pines, and sandy banks.
Those clouds building on the horizon dumped on us for a short but drenching downpour. The dark part on top of my image is the brim of my hat as I tried to keep the camera lens dry enough to get a photo.
Fortunately the shower was of short duration and we were able to wait out the worst of it under the Cypresswood bridge. A few miles farther downstream we were at the concreted ramp of Jesse Jones Park, another access point that requires advance permission.
It’s always a beautiful day when we can get out on the water. This is a nice paddle, about 7.4 miles in length, and well worth the effort and advance planning, but do check the gauges to make sure you have enough water – and not too much. Tom suggests that the range of 40 cfs to 400 cfs are safe flows for paddling.
Tom Douglas created the following map of the times and distances for completing this trip:
|The author,Natalie Wiest